A Deobandi seminary that supports Liberal Left not JUI-F

By Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Thousands of Deobandi seminaries across Pakistan are considered source of electoral strength for the religious political party, JUI-F, but at least one of the major ones have chosen for the second time to announce its support to a liberal political party, it emerged on Thursday.

According to a statement issued by the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, Mufti Muhammad Naeem of Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah – an international Deobandi Islamic educational institute located in Karachi, Pakistan – has  announced to support PPP in the local bodies’ elections to be held on 3rd of December, next month.

According to PPP, the party delegation visited Jamia Binoria Aalimiyah and held a meeting with its administrator Mufti Muhammad Naeem, who assured them of full support local government elections.

“On this occasion Mufti Naeem said that Karachi needed development and for this there was dire need to resolve the problems of people above the political affiliation” the statement quotes him as saying and adding the same thinking was stimulus behind supporting PPP.

On this occasion Senator Saeed Ghani – who was leading the delegation – thanked Mufti Naeem for his support and assured him that the PPP will live up to the exceptions of the people. “According to the manifesto of PPP, masses are the source of power and PPP with the force of masses will defeat the opponents” the statement reads.

The Seminary, situated at 12 acres, imparts education to about 8 thousands students, male and female and is considered one of the few major Madrassahs of the Deobandi school of thought.

Also read: Ten-party alliance: When it goes breaking, a Call from Darul Uloom keeps it intact

Jamia Binoria Site – also known as Binoria University International and which was founded by the incumbent administrator Mufti Muhammad Naeem under the patronage of his father Qari Abdul Haleem in 1979 – had supported Muttahida Qaumi Movement in the 2008 general polls.

Instead of JUI-F, Mufti Naeem has always maintained good relations with Muttahida Qaumi Movement and PPP, source said. “This was the reason behind his announcement of support to MQM in 2008 and now PPP in 2015 local bodies’ polls”, a teacher associated with Madrassah said, recalling that when the MQM chief landed in hot waters for his condolence at the death of Sahibzadi Nasir Begum – wife of the chief of Jamaat-e- Ahmadiyya Mirza Masroor Ahmad, this was Mufti Naeem who issued a Fatwa in favor of MQM chief in July 2011.

Though many from his school of thought believed that the MQM chief Altaf Hussain had committed major sin by praying for a Qadianis, Mufti Naeem in his edict said MQM chief had done so in good faith and the same was not tantamount to belief of considering Qadiani as Muslims.

Mufti Naeem is also alleged of striking a secret deal between the MQM and owners of the Ali Enterprises, the garment factory which was put down to ashes with 258 people burnt alive. However, Naeem strongly rejects the allegations.

Though leaders of PPP have called it an achievement due to huge presence of the seminary’s students in Site Town, Wakeel Rehman, a senior reporter covering religious institutions and parties, downplays the importance of the support while citing some reasons.

“Religiously and academically the students and his religious followers follow Mufti Naeem but they pay least or no heeds to his political advices” said Rehman, adding the students have always supported JUI-F.

Published in The Frontier Post


The enemy at home

Violent extremism has reached the houses of those who are expected to fight it

The enemy at home

By Naimat Khan

After a terrorist attack on a navy dockyard in Karachi in September last year, there were reports that a perpetrator who was killed in the gunfight was a former navy sailor and the son of a police officer.

Owais Jakhrani’s father, Ali Sher Jakhrani, was a senior police officer who was in the limelight during the famed Karachi law and order case. Being the assistant IG for legal affairs, his recommendations to then chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry were always honored.

Asked at one point if he knew an honest officer who could lead an investigation into the March 2013 bomb attack in the predominantly-Shia Abbas Town neighborhood of Karachi, Mr Jakhrani named Shahid Hayat. The chief justice listened to him, and set aside an existing investigation team formed by Sindh chief minister Qaim Ali Shah.

Owais, who was dismissed from the navy for his ‘religious views and undisciplined conduct’ had remained in contact with his policeman father from Afghanistan, where he had gone for militant training. Forensic reports later suggested that Owais had used his father’s service weapons during the terrorist attack.

A year later, a probe into the killing of 46 passengers of a bus – most of them Ismaili Shias on their way to work – in Karachi’s Safoora Goth area reveals the involvement of the brother of a senior superintendent of Sindh police, a senior police officer told me.

He was in contact with his policeman father while training in Afghanistan

Other sources privy to the case said the police had arrested Sheeba Ahmed, an alleged financier of Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent last month. He told them the names of the men who had orchestrated the attack, and trained and brainwashed young people to carry it out. Among those men was Zaheer Shaikh, whose younger brother is a senior police officer.

Zaheer is at large.  It is yet to be ascertained whether the police officer was aware of his brother’s activities.

Last year before Muharram, an intelligence alert issued by the National Counter-Terrorism Authority (NACTA) stated that there were officials in Sindh police with sectarian leanings and affiliations. The report was prepared by in the light of information shared by a top intelligence agencies.

“The officials of LEAs with visible sectarian leanings and affiliations may not be deputed for Muharram duties,” said a NACTA letter dated 22nd October, 2014.

“The involvement of immediate family members of two senior officers of Sindh in major acts of terrorism is alarming, and indicates weak intelligence,” says Saqib Sagheer, a Karachi-based investigative reporter. “In both the cases, the suspects’ ties to a police officer only came to fore after they had carried out a terrorist attack.”

Security experts say militant groups linked to global terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda and ISIS have been making inroads in Karachi’s affluent and educated families by influencing young people.

“The issue went underreported for many reasons, including too much focus on madrassas,” says Ziaur Rehman, a noted security analyst. “What is most worrying is that militants have reached the homes of those supposed to fight with them.”

The writer is a freelance journalist

Email: undisclosedtruth@gmail.com

Twitter: @NKMalazai

 Published in The Friday Times